In August of 2012, I had my first experience with Soccer Without Borders. I volunteered at a week long camp in Oakland, California, helping coach and organize activities for children ages 5-10. I absolutely loved the atmosphere. Filled with such positive energy and incredible diversity, it provided an escape and learning environment for refugee and under-served youth.
I then continued into my final year of high school and progressed through my first two years of college, buried under a pile of never-ending work until I got an email from Cristy Peterson, who I had worked the week-long camp with, and played alongside for many years while growing up in the Bay Area. She reached out to me asking if my college soccer team, the Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer (PPWS) team in Claremont, CA, would be interested in participating in a fundraiser for SWB.
My initial thoughts consisted of excitement and then nervousness at the thought of how I would create extra hours in the day, free of schoolwork, to organize a clinic or camp to fundraise in our area. But then we came up with the Greater Goals Campaign, an exciting fundraising idea where players participate by reaching out to family and friends who pledge voluntary amounts based on goals scored and shutouts achieved throughout the season. Not only that, but another youth-centric non-profit organization, Positive Tracks, who partners with SWB and encourages young people to get active and give back using the power of sport, agreed to double every dollar our PPWS raised. We ended up making $2,331, which was doubled to $4,662 by Positive Tracks!
Let me tell you, it was really amazing to see how much money could be raised in such a short amount of time. We started mid-way through the season, so only half the games counted towards the fundraiser and only half the team and their parents participated (as it was such short notice and we were in the midst of our busy season, so there was not enough time to advertise to outside donors). The campaign is such an easy, time-efficient, empowering, fun, all around incredible fundraiser that simultaneously encourages the success of your own team while directly benefiting the under-served youth participating in SWB programs. I can’t express how thankful I am that I was able to reconnect with SWB and start this fundraiser at Pomona-Pitzer.
All the Pomona-Pitzer Greater Goals funds will be put towards the new girls school league in Granada, Nicaragua. SWB is launching this league in 2016 with 10 teams, and it will be the only girls league in the entire city! Our team is thrilled that our fundraiser will be going directly to helping this league start up!
Our next soccer season will start in August of 2016 and last through November 2016. I plan to organize the second round of this fundraiser this summer, way ahead of the season to increase PPWS’s ability to create positive change for SWB programs. I only hope those who read my story realize that no matter how busy you are with school, work, and life, there are always simple yet influential fundraising opportunities (especially this one!) to create great positive change.
Read the original press release on the Sagehens website!